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Salary Survey 2006: Hot Skills, Hot Pay

Hot skills got the biggest pay bounces in 2006, as companies prepared to fight for key talent.

By Stacy Collett
November 13, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Mike York has 15 good reasons to be happy with his job. As a network architect at Experian Information Solutions Inc.’s data center in Allen, Texas, York saw his salary jump 5% this year, plus another 10% as the credit reporting company raised his pay to equal that of his counterparts at the California headquarters. “In Texas, I’m the only network architect” for the company, York says of his specialized skills.

He’s not the only one with reason to smile. While IT workers across the board saw their pay increase an average of 3.1% again this year, a few lucky ones with the hottest skills saw above-average raises, according to Computerworld’s 20th Annual Salary Survey, which studied the compensation and bonuses of 14,740 IT workers. Network architects like York received average pay increases of 5.3%. Web developers, Internet managers and directors of e-commerce saw jumps of 4% or more. (Use our Smart Salary Tool to get survey results by job title and region. Also, see salary data for entry-level and staff positions, middle management, senior management, contractors & consultants and additional job titles.

Compensation watchdogs say these IT rock stars have catapulted to popularity because of consumer demand. “The dominant business model is now Web-based. That’s what it’s all about,” says David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners LLC in New Canaan, Conn. “Customers are dictating the way they want to interact across the network with the vendors. They’re willing to define the relationship in part by how secure it is and how easy it is to do business with them. If I’m purchasing from a Web site and the site is too slow, I’m off of it.”

On the e-business side, the need to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulations drove demand for Web skills to the max before the compliance deadlines last spring. Now these same companies have returned to enhancing Web-based products and services, Foote says.

Dennis Byford, a network architect at Integris Health Inc. in Oklahoma City, has seen his personal stock rise as more IT projects involve the Web. “All of our projects right now are tied into electronic medical records and physician order entry systems,” he says.

Squaring Up

At raise time, Jennifer, a wireless network engineer at a hospital system in Florida, knew what her skills were worth. Unfortunately, her employer didn’t. So she balked when the hospital offered her a 3% pay increase this year.

“[Some executives] don’t understand what an impact wireless has in the enterprise,” says Jennifer, who asked that her full name not be used. She has three years’ experience managing a 100-access-point wireless infrastructure and has earned Cisco Systems Inc.’s CCNP and CCIE certifications.

“I’m in charge of their entire wireless network, and it’s growing faster than [the current infrastructure] can possibly accommodate,” she says. “I’m trying to get them to understand the value of what I do. I really don’t think that they get it.” NEXT  

Special Report

Salary Survey 2006

Salary Survey 2006: Hot Skills, Hot Pay
Raises are stalling for most IT workers, but not for those with sought-after skills.

Interactive Salary Tool
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'I Want a Raise'
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Argument of Convenience: The IT Salary Gender Gap
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Survey Snapshots
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Methodology




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